Henryville tornado survivors prepare for winter storm on 2nd ann - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Henryville tornado survivors prepare for winter storm on 2nd anniversary

Posted: Updated:
Scenes from a snowy Henryville, IN on March 4, 2012. Scenes from a snowy Henryville, IN on March 4, 2012.
Fr. Steven Schaftlein Fr. Steven Schaftlein
Scenes from a snowy Henryville, IN on March 4, 2012. Scenes from a snowy Henryville, IN on March 4, 2012.
Scenes from a snowy Henryville, IN on March 4, 2012. Scenes from a snowy Henryville, IN on March 4, 2012.
Scenes from a snowy Henryville, IN on March 4, 2012. Scenes from a snowy Henryville, IN on March 4, 2012.

HENRYVILLE, IN (WAVE) – As the second anniversary of the tornadoes that tore across southern Indiana draw near, the community of Henryville is bracing for another weather event.

"I'm looking forward to spring," said Father Steven Schaftlein while standing outside St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church Friday.

While the Henryville resident is no stranger to ice and snow, he said he'd never forget the snow that fell in the small town on March 4, 2012.

"There's about three inches of snow on the ground," recalled Schaftlein, "first time that year that it snowed, and it's like, well what more's going to happen to make it difficult."

That fresh coat of snow cloaked a then splintered Henryville just two days after two tornados ripped the town to pieces.

"All the trees were knocked down and broken into bits and pieces," said Schaftlein while pointing in the direction of Henryville Junior/Senior High School. "The school itself, probably a third of it, as totally destroyed."

It was a moment that redefined the close-knit town.

"We put up a memorial," began Schaftlein, "to remember and to honor the 34 people and their families who died in the tornado in Kentucky and Indiana."

The deadly tornadoes served as a wake-up call that in turn boosted awareness.

With freezing rains and icy conditions expected on the second anniversary of the March 2, 2012 tornados, Schaftlein said he had already begun preparing in hopes of keeping others safe.

"I'm going to pass out a sheet that lists what you should have in your emergency kit," said Schaftlein. "You know, flashlights, weather radios, a supply of water, some food, some warm clothing."

While preparation is key, Schaftlein said it's not the only lesson the community had learned.

"Be ready to lend a helping hand," said Schaftlein.

To commemorate the town's efforts to triumph over tragedy, Schaftlein said his congregation has planted a tree symbolizing the community's growth. Following Sunday Mass on the morning of March 2, 2014, the a special service will be held at the St Francis Xavier outdoor tornado memorial, at which time, the names of all 34 tornado victims will be read.

Copyright 2014 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.